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Social Start-Up School

Do you have a great business idea which could positively impact your local community or environment? 

You could be part of the social business movement, joining over 6,000 social enterprises across Scotland which already trade to address social needs, to strengthen communities, to improve people’s lives and to protect the environment?

What is it?

The Highlands and Islands region is part of an international programme offering dedicated help for anyone setting up or developing a new social business. 

Four social business start-up schools have been set up across the region - in Sutherland, Wester Ross, Easter Ross and in the Outer Hebrides. Until we can meet again safely, and whilst COVID-19 restrictions continue to apply, Start-Up School will be delivered entirely online.

By signing up to this programme you'll get access to:

  • Coaching support - you’ll have your own experienced social business coach, local to your area. The coaching sessions can help you develop your plans and tackle the obstacles you may face. These can be via telephone or video conferencing.
  • Online workshops - a range of interactive webinars, in which we explore issues such as finance, funding and investment, selling online and project management.
  • Online self-directed learning - access to a library of over 2,000 interactive resources covering leadership and strategy, managing people and teams and personal skills and development.

Get in touch today if you're interested in finding out how the programme can help you.


Contact us

For more information, or to discuss how you can get involved, get in touch today.

Contact Social Start-Up School

Social enterprises are big business. Over 80,000 jobs are supported by the sector in Scotland and it contributes £2bn GVA. Around a third of Scotland’s social enterprises are in rural areas. We can help people with a great idea get it off the ground.
Margaret McSporran, head of social enterprise development, HIE

Why social business?

You can develop a successful business which also delivers important social benefits. Get some inspiration from this successful Highland project.

The Shieling Project
Sam Harrison with a group of children at the Shieling Project

Background - Start-Up Schools

The Start-Up Schools are part of the Support Network for Social Entrepreneurs, an Interreg North West Europe partnership project. The programme is fully funded by Interreg North West Europe, run by HIE and delivered by the Social Enterprise Academy.

What support will be delivered through the Start-Up School?

  • Idea generation (Good Ideas Workshop, the Melting Pot)
  • Leadership skills
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Financial planning, pricing, investment, cash flow and resource management
  • Developing social business model
  • Links and introductions to wider sector support network

Support will be tailored to your individual needs and delivered in your local area, at times that suit your wider commitments.


Apply to the Social Start-Up School today

The Start-Up School could help you get your business off the ground. Fill out the form or upload a video outlining your ideas - and we'll see how we can help.

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